High School Football: 2022 Deseret News Players of the Year

The name of the game in football is to find the back of the net, and this year the Deseret News Boys Soccer Players of the Year have been among the best in the state at ensuring their teams are among the most dangerous offensive teams in the state.

They did more than their own fair share to find the back end of the network.

Here’s a look at the 2022 Deseret News Boys Football Players of the Year.


Samir Cuevas of Corner Canyon was the Deseret News 6A Player of the Year.

6Player of the Year

Sameer Cuevas, Corner Canyon, MF, Jr.

It was clear to everyone who watched the Corner Canyon game this season who was the best player on the field – junior Sameer Cuevas. He can dominate the game like few other players and it showed on the scoresheet when he scored 12 goals and eight assists to lead Corner Canyon to the Region 4 title.

Like many of the top seeds in the 6A, Corner Canyon’s playoff run was short as she lost on penalties to Cinderella Herriman in the second round.

Cuevas assisted Corner Canyon, scoring the only goal in that playoff loss.

“Samir Cuevas is a brilliant player and a natural goalscorer. He is the nightmare of every defender and goalkeeper. He will do his best to get the ball into the net,” said Corner Canyon coach Drew Van Wagenen. “His efforts are relentless and his technical ability to dribble past defenders, break down defenses and convert difficult scoring chances is amazing. He is always the most dangerous player on the field.”

Cuevas scored or assisted in 11 of 17 games for the Chargers, including a season-ending streak when he scored two goals in three straight games to help clinch the regional title.


Alta midfielder Carter Bell has been named the Deseret News 5A Player of the Year.

5 Player of the Year

Carter Bell, Alta, MF, Sr.

Alta’s 18 wins this season culminated in the ninth state championship in school history, and midfield engine Carter Bell was at the center of it all.

Whether he was converting his own chances or creating for his teammates, Bell did what was necessary during a fantastic season, finishing with 13 goals and 12 assists.

“Carter is a true example of what a great teammate is and why Alta have been as successful as we have been this season. He stepped up his individual game, working on and off the field to improve his skills and play, and the ultimate goal was the success of the team,” said Alta coach Mackenzie Hyer. “Carter led by example and showed a passion for playing football, but more importantly, love for his Alta Hawk brothers.”

Bell was at his best in the Altas’ four-game playoffs. He scored in Alta’s second round win over Bonneville before adding two goals and an overtime assist in a quarter-final win over rivals Brighton.

In the semi-finals, he provided an assist to equalize Alta in the second half, which went into overtime. In the final match, odds were hard to convert, but he scored a penalty as the Hawks took the shootout victory.

4 Player of the Year

Elijah Smith, Crimson Cliffs, F, Sr.

During the Crimson Cliffs’ run to the regional and state championships this season, senior Elijah Smith was at the center of the action. He played all over the field, as the situation dictated, and showed the result when and where he was called.

Smith was an excellent 1-on-1 Mustang player and finished tied with nine goals as well as three assists.

“Eli seemed to have endless energy. He chased every ball and led our press to get the ball back. He has always been classy. He showed respect when he won and inspired his teammates when we struggled,” said Crimson Cliffs coach Isaac Klingonsmith.

Smith usually started as a center forward at the Crimson Rocks, but Klingonsmith never hesitated to move his best forward to a defensive midfield role if his team was defending the lead late in the game. This was a big reason Crimson Cliffs recorded 13 shutouts.

Smith even played center back in one game when the situation called for it.

This versatility and selflessness was second to none and Crimson Cliffs benefited from the trophies.


Layton Christian Academy and Real Salt Academy play the 3A Boys State Football Championship at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. Layton Christian Academy won 4-0.

Scott J. Winterton, Deseret News

3 Player of the Year

Enzo Jacques, Leighton Christian, F, Sr.

At the most important stage of the season, the 3A State Championship, Layton Christian Senior Enzo Jaques had a huge success, scoring a hat-trick to take the Eagles to the State Championship.

In many ways, for the talented striker, it was just another day at work. Jacques has scored in 17 of Leighton Christian’s 20 games this season, including all four playoff games, as he created defensive problems in every game.

The result was a brilliant season in which he scored 25 goals and had 13 assists.

“Enzo has a very strong personality. He sincerely believes in his potential, his skill, and this distinguishes him from others. When you work with him every day and find out how much he cares about the people around him and the team, you know he has a good heart,” said Leighton Christian coach Lucas Almeida. “All these ingredients make him the player he is. I’m proud of how much he’s developed this season and we both know this is just the beginning for him.”

Although Jacques’ hat-trick led Leighton Christian to a comfortable win in the final, it was his score to equalize in the semi-finals, which helped send the game into overtime, and the Eagles eventually won the shootout.


St. Joseph and Rowland Hall play the 2A Boys State Football Championship at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. Rowland Hall won 2–0.

Scott J. Winterton, Deseret News

2 Player of the Year

Daniel Fontes, St. Joseph, F, Fr.

Considering how well he did as a freshman, Daniel Fontes of St. Joseph has no limits.

He scored 30 goals to lead the entire state this season and helped the Jayhawks to a second-place finish in 2A. The combination of speed and technical ability made Fontes a very difficult player for opposing teams.

“He is a very fast player. He is able to break away from defenders on the counter or slip behind them for a through pass, and on many occasions he gets to the ball first. Speed ​​can hurt the best defenders, and Daniel has a lot of it,” said St. Joseph coach Paulo Franco.

Along with excellent speed, Fontes has an excellent first touch that increases his creativity.

“Daniel is not just dribbling. He dribbles with great talent. Snaps, back heels, stepping and so on are exactly what you expect to see when he plays. Daniel’s dribbling is a pleasure to watch for everyone, except for the opponent’s defenders, ”said Franco. “His dribbling allows him to get out of difficult situations and create space for a shot or a pass. Daniel is good at finishing with both feet, which makes him a very dangerous opponent.”

Fontes has scored in 12 of 18 games for the Jayhawks this season, including eight multi-goals.

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